Race Day is finally here. You’ve spent weeks training and have invested a lot of hope and hard work. Take some time this week to make sure race day goes how you want so you get to the start line ready to go. Get ready to race!
Even making it to the start line is an accomplishment. You’ve made it this far. Plan for race day success by following these tips.
Try to Minimize Stress
Stress creeps up on all of us and takes a lot of energy! This is the time to try and lower your stress. Arrange your schedule so it is less frantic, plan for good healthy meals and maybe even ask a friend or spouse to help make sure they are prepped and ready to go. Try to go to bed a little earlier in the days before the race and really unwind before you go to sleep so that you sleep through the night. It’s likely that you’ll have to get up early on race day and some don’t sleep well the night before so, if you get a little extra in the days before you will still come into the race well rested.
Do your Homework
Where and when is packet pick-up? What time does the race start? What parking/transportation options are available? Is it likely to be crowded? Is there a gear check option and will you use it? Where will you meet friends/family before or after the race? This is the time to make sure you understand what logistics are like for your race. If you have any concerns, make sure to get to the race a bit earlier so you can have time to deal with any issues should they arise without having to race around and wear yourself out before the gun goes off.
Nothing New on Race Day
You’ve been training in the shoes and clothes you are planning to wear. Don’t change now. You have been practicing your hydration/fueling plan – stick to it. Use the gear and fuel you know works for you. Do not try anything new on race day. The night before get all the gear you'll need all set out so you won't forget anything.
Give Yourself Enough Time
You’ll want to have enough time to get to the race and take care of business and still have enough time to do a light warm up. We’ve seen people getting dropped off for a race and sprinting to get to the race start. Don’t do it!
On the flip side, this does not mean get there hours early and waste energy walking around and milling about getting nervous. That can use up a lot of energy! If you are prone to getting to races very early, bring a plastic trash bag. You can wear it to keep yourself warm or sit on it to keep your legs rested.
Stick to Your Plan
You’ll be excited and have a lot of adrenaline. Remember to stick to your plan and go out at a gradual race pace. Line up early and appropriately and in your mind think about the course, the hills and aid stations and remember how you want to feel at each point and what you need to grab. It’s easy to get pulled out fast on race day. We can’t stress this enough, don’t do it! Run your own race!
Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes you just cannot control everything. Be prepared for the unexpected and don’t let it derail your race. Weather is certainly beyond your control. If the temperature forecast is not ideal, plan for your race but be prepared to change your plans as needed. Your watch may decide not to work. It's OK to run by feel. A shoelace may come untied or you might drop a gel. The list of things that can go wrong is endless. Remember you are okay, you are trained and you can move on to plan B.
You’ve invested a lot of time and energy in this training cycle. Enjoy the race ambiance and acknowledge all those people who are out there just for you! Smile, wave and thank a volunteer, give high fives and cheer on other runners. You will be amazed at how much energy you gain from cheering on or thanking others. Celebrate!